Part-Time Jobs, Death of Dreams, Reality Bites

Where to start…there is so much I want to talk about…I have made many observations this past few weeks.

Observation:  If I work 30 hours at my new part-time job (Home Depot) then I will almost make enough money to pay half a payment for half of my total student loans.  Or another way of looking at it:  I will almost make enough money to make a payment on the interest on one loan.  I need about 4 more part-time jobs to make any difference.  Which sucks.  I am working a whole lot of hours for a whole little pay, spending way too much time away from home and family, making time sacrifices and I am sore and tired all the time.  I almost like the job itself and the people I work with.  But I am not so sure it is worth it.  I simply need to make more money.

Observation:  Dreams exist so that they can be killed and obliterated, only then can one start to accept reality and live their miserable life.  I see people every day who want to do more with their lives, become a lawyer, pastor, own their own business, etc.  These people are dreaming.  They are still 18 years old and have the lie in their heads that they can do whatever they want to do.  My case-in-point:  I saw a magazine last night at Home Depot, it had a dream house on the front cover.  I remember the days when Minnie and I would sit around and dream about the perfect house…wrap-around porch, verandas, gazebos…sigh.  Then it dawned on me:  I am never gonna have that.  I may never even be the owner of any house.  It is time to wake up.  I’m never gonna fulfill those dreams, no pastoring, no dream house.  No putting my kids through college.  No retirement.  No new cars.  No nice chrome, front-loading matching washer and dryer.  No big-screen, HD TV.  No refrigerator with the ice maker and the water dispenser that holds the milk on the door and has that extra door on the outside where you can just reach in and get juice or milk or a snack.  No white picket fence.  Although Home Depot sells most of that stuff.  I’ll work until I am dead.  I’ll have debt until I die.  The best that I can hope for is to teach my kids to not follow in my footsteps.

Kids…I keep telling myself that someday Kaleb and Keegan will grow up in a house, with a yard and a tree house.  Another dream.  They are growing up so fast.

OK, so I am a little depressed and feeling sorry for myself.  So what.  Reality bites.

Observation:  Debt still sucks.  I was talking to a friend this past weekend and he confided that he was not very happy with God and student loan debt (and other debt).  There was cussing involved between him and God.  I cuss about 2 dozen times a day to myself.  The really bad 4-letter words too.  I am angry and frustrated.  This student loan debt is doing more than killing dreams.  It is starting to consume me, starting to master me.  I hate the fact that I went to MNU to be a pastor.  I hate that I feel cheated and lied to by Christians.  I even consulted with a bankruptcy lawyer last week.  But there isn’t much they can do unless one is disabled or at the poverty level.  I am neither and am actually sad about it!  I hate that even though I am taking steps to better myself that they really don’t matter!  I mean really!

So let’s review…Mad at God…Conned into going to MNU…insanely high student-loan debt…2nd job meaningless…hope slowly dying…future looks bleak…Life sucks.  Yep, that sums it up.

And then I hear the angel in the other ear:  You have a great job.  You have a great family.  You are getting caught up in consumerism.  You got to play the XBOX360 this past weekend and kill people-that was so much fun, remember all the carnage and death?  That was fun right?  You’re just tired.  Slow down.  Take a breather.  Calm down.  It’ll be OK.

But reality still bites.  There still won’t be that “American Dream”.  And yeah that is the lie of a consumer-based culture.  But it is still a lie I want so desperately to be a part of.  I don’t want to work 2 jobs until I die.  I want my kids to have a better life than me.

Man, I am tired.

-Derin-

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9 responses to “Part-Time Jobs, Death of Dreams, Reality Bites

  1. This is an awesome post. Raw, I can feel your pain.

    Keep up the struggle Derin. Christ can calm your storm, you have the glint of faith and hope, encourage it. You are right, there must be dramatic steps taken to get your boat turned around, and you are chinking away at the armor of a very big giant.

    I empathize, and I pray for you. You are honoring God with the practicality of what you are doing, and He will bless you for that.

    Derin Says: As always David I greatly appreciate your comments. But…What if…What if God does not bless me? Now stay with me for a sec. Maybe I asked that wrong. What if God chooses to bless me in a non-material sort of way. Which, the more I think about it, is most likely the way God blesses us anyway. But what if I die still having debt?! I am trying to remember that the only thing that God is responsible for is my relationship to Him. That’s it. And he cares about that tremendously! He doesn’t have to care about my checkbook, bank account or wad of cash (or lack thereof). He doesn’t care about a white picket fence, a college education or the car I drive.

    That, my friend, is what I am trying to be OK with. And today I am not OK with that. Today that makes me depressed. Today I am an American first. And that stings to confess. But I want to be a follower of Christ first. I want to be OK with it. I think anyway. That’s the pain today, mourning the loss of things that may never be.
    -Derin-

    Dave’s Email Reply: I think you are very right in the fact that I said that God would bless you, but I also did not explicitly say monetarily. You are definitely right to mourn those losses.

    When I felt a call into the ministry as a teenager I only knew of one context for that, vocational ministry. As I graduated from MidAmerica I realized I had no desire or the maturity needed to be a ‘vocational’ minister at that point and like you no one would have been able to afford me. As much as I reminisce and ponder eventually moving into vocational ministry I can’t escape the situation and talents God has given me outside of the realm of vocational ministry. So I have to ask the question of where does that not hinder me, but instead where does that give me creative license for the use of my degree.

    You and I may never become vocational pastors, and maybe we will. I don’t want to trivialize in any way your experience, and I can honestly say that I have no idea how much weight this puts on you, I can only guess. But I think at some point you and I will begin to see that what we think hinders us the most may not actually be the biggest obstacle in our path.

    I love you man, keep up the blogging!

    Derin Says: Thanks friend.

  2. Derin,

    I don’t know how much of the debt you have is because you went to MNU, and how much is because some decisions you have made. But I have a feeling there’s a little bit of both, and I know from experience that MNU is not cheap, and I know that the system is screwed up-the system that we have to go to a (in my case) 20,000 dollar a year school to go into vocational ministry, but that no one can afford someone who went to a 20,000 dollar a year school, unless of course they have rich parents.

    I think one important thing for us to do here is to remember that to a degree we are victims, but also to not live like victims. It’s frustrating to hear people say- don’t be a victim. But what if you are a victim, you can’t just shut up about crappy stuff that goes on. The fact is that MNU recruiters go around the region trying to convince teenagers and parents that it is God’s will for them to go to MNU and spend that money. The fact is that churches will not take us without a degree, but they will not take us with it either if we had to pay our own way. Something has to happen to this system- it is messed up. We are victims, but we cannot live like victims. It is one of the most challenging things in the world. It might seem petty to compare this to MLK, but it would have been absurd to tell Martin Luther King that he was not a victim, but if he would have lived like a victim, nothing would have changed.

    Derin Says: Honestly DarthBen (what a great name!), all of my current debt is student loans and the interest and penalties and fines that they have accrued. In a very real way I have been a victim of a messed up system. I trusted people in spiritual authority and that was a mistake. I don’t want to live like a victim. On the other hand I will be paying this debt off the rest of my life. I can’t tell you how depressing and frustrating that is. And it isn’t just undergraduate degrees that hiring churches are looking for, it is seminary degrees too. Thanks for the words, I know you can relate a great deal to my feelings and ramblings. It would be ideal to have financial freedom. But I have a feeling I am gonna have to settle for spiritual freedom. And only then when I come to believe that it isn’t settling.

    -Derin-

  3. Guess what – life sucks. We’re not supposed to love this world – we’re supposed to be preparing for the next.

    Another tidbit – I want all those dreams too!

    I went to MANC very naive and ignorant. I didn’t worry about all the loans I was taking out. All I knew was this is what I had planned my whole life. When I got to school it was a big awakening – chapel twice a week & a curfew? I didn’t have curfew at home! You had a dream – to be a pastor. I had no idea what to do with my life and still feel that way – over 10 years later.

    Life is definitely not what we thought it would be, but we have to suck it up. Believe me – I get depressed about it a lot and my husband has no idea how much the interest on my student loan has accumulated to because he would go through the roof. Fortunately he didn’t go to school so no loans – but on the other hand he can’t get a decent job. He has to work manual labor out in the elements. At least my college degree got me an inside desk job. It may not be what I dreamed of doing but I can put food on the table.

    School loans suck – even filing bankruptcy doesn’t help. If I didn’t have a family (and if it wasn’t immoral & wrong) I would just fake my death to get out of them.

    BUT (this is the big one) God promises that he’ll never give us anything we can’t handle. I know God meant for you to go to MANC. That’s where you met your wife & your wonderful friends (like me). I know I personally learned a lot about myself and my relationship with God by being there and I made some of the best friends of my life!!!

    Life sucks hard. I get pretty down from time to time but God helps me through it and I know he will help you as well.

    I must ask – are you tithing? Give to God what is God’s and He WILL take care of you!!!!!

  4. DON’T FORGET – THERE’S ALWAYS THE LOTTERY!!!!

  5. Because we went to a private school, we were the leading edge of a phenomenon. There are bajillions of kids right now racking up the same sort of debt that you did to go to K-state or iowa. It’s greed, and it’s wrong, and it’s everywhere, and I’m not sure anyone is talking about it.

    The middle class is getting hosed 18 ways from Sunday.

    I’ve got kid #5 on the way. Not sure what I’m going to do for money, but i’m pretty sure it’s going to have to be illegal ;-)>

    The good news is that God likes us desperate. Not sure why. forced dependence when we haven’t demonstrated the depth of character to trust us with voluntary dependence? Don’t know.

    So, on an unrelated note, I’m thinking my part of the world needs a brothel. and weed. lots of weed. Sweet, sticky, costs-more-per-ounce-than-gold-but-grows-in-your-basement weed.

    By the by – ever consider making the ministry your part time job? I think there might be opportunities there as churches get smaller and cannot afford full time ministers.
    There’s also money to be made in filling pulpits, I understand.

  6. LISA – the lottery is evil. it sucks money out of people who would not otherwise pay taxes, sets a precedence for the state profiting from vice, and most importantly makes the wait in line for a can of pop at the quicky-mart COMPLETELY intolerable.

  7. The lottery is evil but you want brothels & lots of weed…okay, that makes complete sense.

  8. Joe, Darlin’, the Lottery in and of itself isn’t evil. People with no self control and greed issues are evil. Don’t blame an inanimate object.

    Derin, WOW. I found your link on the Naz U site and I read both that you listed there. I am so sorry you’re dealing with this. Positive – you have an awesome family! Negative – you’re swimming in debt.

    I went to SNU in 1988 – 1991, but thankfully my parents picked up the tab that remained after I nailed a few scholarships and grants. I was like a pit bull, I demanded every single scholarship and grant application the admissions counselor could scrounge up. I pitched a fit until they forked up EVERYTHING. At first they were hesitant to oblige, but I can be a serious beee-yotch. The part that remained (still a hefty sum) my loving parents paid for with blood, sweat, and tears. My mom retired right after I graduated, and that is no lie. I packed in every mini-term and summer class I could and got out of SNU early, to try and save some cash on room and board.

    Nazarene universities are a crock of poo, in my opinion. Too many kids are getting tricked into going to those places, when they could easily get into a state college or a junior college and get the same quality education at much less cost.

    Don’t give up! I know how it feels to be strangled by debt. Not pleasant. Keep working hard, reduce spending, and you can get there. I’m so sorry to hear about your struggles. Best to you!

    Derin Says: Big D- Thanks for stopping by! I really appreciate your comments. It sounds like you were financially aggressive at getting those scholarships and grants, great job! I had applied for just a very small few and were denied-I simply didn’t know to be aggressive nor knew what was out there or how important they could be. “Don’t give up”, I won’t. Thanks again for stopping by and offering encouragement.

  9. Dang dude, that sucks. It’s like when you start out in life you get to draw out a few cards from the Great Deck of Cards. At least you didn’t draw the polio card, the ‘born with no legs card’ or something like that. It sounds like you drew the cards ‘born in America’, ‘sensitive to God’s leadings’ and ‘smart and healthy’ among other great cards. Dude, like 4/5ths of the dudes in this world would chop off their left testicle to be you. I can see how life can get you down BUT you just gotta look up at the sky and yell, “HEY GOD! IS THIS ALL YA GOT? DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM? THIS s#@%T CAN’T BREAK ME!!!” You’ll feel better, I promise

    Derin says: I was a little depressed, still am. I mean there is no easy way out of this stupid financial mess other than hard work for a really long time. And that is not what I signed up for at MNU nor Minnie at Ottowa U. I appreciate your comments and your friendship more than you know! Thanks Bro!

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